E-Bike Use in Summit County
At this time, Summit County is not considering e-MTB (E-Mountain Bike) use on natural surface trails. E-bikes are not permitted on natural surface trails dedicated as non-motorized, whether the trails are under the jurisdiction of Summit County, the Town of Breckenridge, or the US Forest Service. Class 1 e-bikes are allowed on the Recpath, which is a paved pathway.
Class 1 e-MTBs are permitted on the Recpath, roads and trails open to motorized use, such as licensed vehicles, dirt bikes, ATVs, and UTVs. E-MTBs are also permitted on the Frisco Peninsula Recreational Area and certain ski area trails, such as Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, and Keystone. There are hundreds of miles of recreational routes open to e-MTB use in Summit County.
E-bikes on the Recpath
Summit County conducted a public-input process on whether to allow electric bicycles on the Summit County Recreational Pathway System.
The Summit County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) received numerous comments both for and against allowing e-bikes on the Recpath. In response, the BOCC tasked the Open Space & Trails Department with gathering more feedback from the public about e-bikes to determine whether this use might be appropriate on all, or portions, of the Recpath system.
On April 23, 2019, at a public hearing, the BOCC approved a resolution to allow Class 1 e-bikes on the Recpath; all Class 2, Class 3 and unclassified e-bikes remain prohibited on the Recpath. Thank you for your on-going interest in the Summit County Recreational Pathway System.
Open House and Online Survey
Summit County hosted an open house at the County Commons on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, to obtain input about the use of e-bikes on the Recpath.
An online survey was available from February 20 through March 19, 2018. The public informed Open Space and Trails what they think about e-bikes on the Recpath by taking the simple, seven-question survey. The survey took about five minutes to complete and had over 1,000 responses.
Background: E-Bikes in Colorado and Summit County
A new Colorado law took effect on Aug. 9, 2017, authorizing the operation of Class 1 or Class 2 e-bikes on bike or pedestrian paths where bicycles are authorized to travel. However, the bill also stipulates that local authorities can regulate the use of e-bikes in their own jurisdictions.
Summit County and the towns of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, and Silverthorne maintain and manage their respective sections of Recpath. Each jurisdiction is considering its own rules and regulations related to e-bikes, but we are working toward a shared vision for the Recpath system that preserves a seamless experience for Summit County residents and visitors.
Recpath Regulations & Individuals with Disabilities
Prior to the BOCC's adoption of the new resolution on April 23, 2019, all e-bikes were prohibited on the Recpath, except for use by persons with disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Recpath Regulations stated that no person shall operate a motorized vehicle on the Recpath, and motorized vehicles include every vehicle that is self-propelled, including e-bikes.
However, people with mobility, circulatory, respiratory, or neurological disabilities use many kinds of devices for mobility. Some use walkers, canes, crutches, or braces. Some use manual or power wheelchairs or electric scooters. In addition, advances in technology have given rise to new devices, such as Segways®, that some people with disabilities use as mobility devices. And more advanced devices will inevitably be invented, providing more mobility options for people with disabilities, like e-bikes. An Electric Assisted Bike (EAB) device is a vehicle with two wheels, operable pedals, an electric motor not exceeding 750 watts, with a top speed of 20 miles per hour.
On the Recpath and other paved pathways in Summit County, persons with a mobility disability may use any EAB that has maximum power driven speed equal or less than 20 mph, is no wider than 36 inches, and has brakes that enable the operator to make the wheels skid on dry, level and clean pavement. No Other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMD) may be used, including but not limited to any gas or combustible fuel powered devices, ATV’s, golf carts, or motorcycles. Wheelchairs and manually-powered mobility aids are allowed.
For more detailed information, see the Summit County Guidelines for Use of "Other Power Driven Mobility Devices" on Open Space and Trail Properties and property interests.
E-bike Definition & Classes
E-bikes, also known as an electric bicycles, powerbikes, pedelecs, or booster bikes, are bicycles with an integrated electric motor that does not exceed 750 watts of power.
Class I e-bikes: bikes equipped with an electric motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 mph
Class II e-bikes: bikes equipped with an electric motor and throttle that can provide assistance regardless of whether the rider is pedaling, and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 mph
Example of a Class I E-Bike
E-Bikes in Other Communities
E-bikes are a fast growing segment of the cycling industry for many environmental, health, financial, and mobility reasons. Mountain communities in Colorado and across the west are currently considering e-bike use on their paved pathway systems. Below are some examples and resources on e-bikes and how communities are regulating them.
- People for Bikes - Electric Bicycle Resources
- Jackson and Teton County, Wyoming - Allows e-bikes on paved pathways and bike lanes
- Park City and Summit County, Utah - Allows class I and II e-bikes on soft-surface trails wider than 5ft and paved multi-use pathways; has the nation's first e-bikeshare program
- Pitkin County, Colorado and Pitkin County Open Space and Trails - Allows Class 1 e-bikes on paved pathways and gravel trails
- Snowmass Village, Colorado - Allows Class 1 e-bikes on paved pathways
- City of Boulder, Colorado - Allows e-bikes on certain paved pathways
- Vail, Colorado - Allows class I and II e-bikes on certain paved pathways